5 Year Plan

10 years ago I was living in Michigan, just getting ready to graduate from college. I had just found out that I didn’t get the job that I desperately, desperately wanted (still by far the hardest disappointment I’ve ever faced in my professional life). I was invited to, I think, 13 weddings that summer as most of my college friends and my best friend from childhood were all getting married at the ripe old ages of 21 and 22 (these things happen when you go to a Christian college). I was single and lonely and terrifically jealous of all my friends. I had a list of 43 characteristics my future husband had to have but no real confidence anyone would ever really love me.


9 years ago I was living in a 1 bedroom apartment in Phoenix, working for a large university. I lived in the same complex as my BFF, whose husband worked nights, so we hung out almost every day. We also ate dinner out almost every night. I was starting to seriously live above my means. I was single but not so lonely and still  jealous of most of my friends, whose lives still seemed so much better than mine.


8 years ago I was living in a 1 bedroom apartment in Tucson, still working for the university. I was just about to start graduate school and was really starting to rack up credit card debt. I was, kind of, a little, perhaps mentally unwell. I started seeing a therapist. I was single and hadn’t been kissed in three years. I was doing well professionally but the wheels were coming off the wagon in my personal life. It was a bad, bad time.


7 years ago I was living in Seoul, South Korea. I had moved there on a whim, in the midst of a quarter-life crisis. I was teaching at an ESL school and living with a horny Englishman named Walter who brought home a new Korean girl every night. Walter was not that cute but the accent did wonders. I went on a few dates with a Nigerian engineer, got terrifically homesick, wondered where the heck home was for me, wondered if I should finish graduate school, despaired about ever getting married, and racked up some more credit card debt.


6 years ago I had finally had my “come to Jesus” talk with myself about my debt (which was in the $20,000 range. Just in credit cards. Add say $30,000 for student loans). I was living in a crappy studio apartment and working at the university again. I was starting to pay down some debt, was still seeing the therapist and was 1 month away from meeting Mr. Monkey. I was still pretty sure I’d die alone. All my friends seemed to be starting to have babies now and/or buying houses and I was jealous again.


5 years ago I was engaged, getting ready to move out of the crappy apartment and into a rented house with Mr. Monkey and his boys. I was deliriously happy, though freaked out a bit by the prospect of becoming a step-mother. I was planning a wedding that we would pay for in cash and was working two jobs to get the credit card debt paid off.


4 years ago I was married, living in the rented house, credit card debt free, starting to get anxious about wanting to buy a house and have me a baby. I was working for a community college, no longer in need of therapy and settled into a life in Arizona that felt pretty permanent and pretty solid, in a good way.


3 years ago I was living in a home we had purchased (at the height of the real estate bubble! In Arizona! Yay for us! Only, ugh, not) and was not yet pregnant despite really, really, really wanting to be. I was still at the community college and life seemed pretty stable. I was happy most of the time.


2 years ago I was super pregnant, less than a month away from having the baby monkey. I was hot and huge and tired. And happy. Really, really happy. We were living in our house with no thought of living some where else.


1 year ago I was living in Iowa, 4 months into a new job, totally lonely, living in a house in the country, wondering if I had made a terrible mistake. I had an almost 1 year old, a bunch of friends in different time zones and a house in Arizona we couldn’t sell. I was feeling sad and fat and worried.


Today I am still in Iowa, but much happier. Work is good, our new house is good, I have some friendships that are developing nicely, our financial life is in okay shape (though we still have that house in AZ and I still might be out of a job in a couple of months if my grant isn’t refunded).

Today someone asked me what my 5 year plan was and I laughed. How the hell should I know that? I’d never have predicted I’d end up here, now, in this life so I certainly don’t think I ought to be making predictions about where I’ll be 5 years from now.


Where were you 5 years ago? Where are you now? I’d love to hear from you (c’mon lurkers! Be brave, post a comment!)

2 thoughts on “5 Year Plan

  1. Gretchen says:

    I am so solidly middle aged. In most respects, I am exactly where I was 5 years ago. Same house, spouse, job, dogs, I guess that’s a good thing. Oh wait, there’s a new minivan in there. 🙂 There have been some changes in my personal life I would not have predicted and as far as that goes, I would not begin to try to predict the next 5 years. It’s a mystery!

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